When I first opened the book and read that horrid first line, “It was a dark and stormy night…,” I only continued reluctantly. It wasn’t necessarily an opening line to hook me in, considering its comic status as a horribly annoying line. I had to remember that it was a children’s book and not to be so quick to judge. Thankfully, I did continue. I did enjoy the book. Now realizing it is one book in the Time Quintet, I feel I must read the others.
The story is an adventure, with Meg leading the way to locate and rescue her father, who disappeared while employed as a government scientist. Meg and her brother learn that their strange neighbors know a bit about what he was studying, who turn out to be supernatural beings. Suddenly the crew of them are off in search of their father on distant worlds. they also learn that the universe is under attack by The Black Thing, essentially a representative of evil. It’s a simple good versus evil story, with love for one’s family and friends dominating the central theme.
One of my favorite things about this book was Meg, our female protagonist. Certainly this was an oddity in science fiction at the time the book was published, and I believe, a likely reason that it was rejected for publication about 26 times. This was a very different type of book for it’s time. It is another example of a writer’s persistence that gives me hope.
If you read it for any reason, read it for Meg. Meg is an interesting character that is very relateable. An outcast, she is smart, but doesn’t excel in all of her subjects. She is awkward. She dislikes school. Unlike a lot of young adult series these days, there is no ridiculous love triangle, as familial and sibling love take center stage. (There is a bit of teenage love, but only to illustrate it can happen across silly high school cliques.) I believe this book is important and should be read, not necessarily because of the content and story, but because of the significance of characters like her.